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About The Arts-Based Research (ABR) Global Consortium

ABR Global Research Team

Nancy Gerber,  Richard Siegesmund, Karin Hannes, Elisabetta Biffi, Jacelyn Biondo, Marco Gemingnani


Mission and Vision

The Arts-Based Research Global Consortium is a group of  international scholars who have gathered  together for the purpose of advocating for the  visibility, accessibility, and valuation of arts-based research approaches in addressing  human rights, social justice,  and critical global issues. Within our current socio-political context and climate, the values of empathy, understanding, introspection, and truth, relative  to the communal human condition   are at a critical point. The regard and positioning of these human values directly relates to how we construct and protect our global community, our roles and agency in these communities,  the socio-political discourse, the advancement and dissemination of knowledge, and the ultimate impact on our survival and evolution. Within this context it behooves us   to study  these phenomena in the social and health sciences  critically exploring, disrupting, and deconstructing the implicit research philosophies that drive and contribute  current neoliberal and colonizing trends in defining truth, knowledge, justice, values, and  our overall inclusive  quality of life (Gerber et al.,2020).


Arts-based research (ABR) is an umbrella term describing  the intentional and intensive explorations that include and value the arts to varying degrees as method, practice, evidence, result ,and public engagement. Within that context,  arts-based research "is an effort to extend beyond the limiting constraints of discursive communication in order to express meanings that otherwise would be ineffable” (Barone & Eisner, 2012, p.1).  In its various iterations and to various degrees,  ABR centralizes the arts in the  philosophy, method of investigation, representation, interpretation and dissemination of the research. Valuing inclusivity, public accessibility, social activism, and public resonance, ABR is positioned to  transcend embedded socio-cultural divisions and hierarchies promoting new insights about the human condition and  progressive intersubjective discourse to re-imagine  social constructions and affect socio-cultural transformations. 


The umbrella term Arts-Based Research (ABR) refers to a continuum of philosophical and methodological research approaches in which the intentional juxtapositioning and engagement with the arts   by researchers and participants varies based upon the nature and purpose of the research.    Arts-based research practice,   arts-informed, and arts-related, research describe only  three of the  current range of typologies along a continuum and under the umbrella of ABR.                   Along this continuum the degree and type of engagement with the arts by researchers and participants varies depending upon the perspective and purpose of the investigation.  Regardless of the  approach, ABR philosophies and methods are aligned with and dedicated to the in-depth  study of the invisible multi-dimensional  phenomena and values  essential to understanding the  individual and collective human condition  inaccessible through other methods of investigation.  Such phenomena can only be completely understood by investigating the underlying  perceptual, sensory, embodied, emotional,  and imaginal lived and felt experiences accessible through the language of aesthetics and the arts. Invisible yet impactful, these beyond words data , illusive in dominant research traditions,   contribute to our holistic understanding   of underlying constructions resulting in   empathy, compassion, meaningful social discourse, and reformative social justice.  


Despite the obvious benefits and current increase in the conduct of arts-based  research, arts-based researchers face multiple challenges including critical and implicit societal, disciplinary, philosophical and/or methodological issues and biases that impede the global valuation, acceptability, and advancement of ABR research. The response to these challenges requires creative collaborative strategies to develop a global arts-based research agenda defining ABR practices, robustness, and contributions while identifying relevant issues and stakeholders, constructing fruitful research partnerships, and funding larger scale progressive arts-based and arts-related research projects. To this end we are gathering together scholars from multiple disciplines, cultures, and countries to form the Arts-Based Research (ABR) Global Consortium to  conduct in depth discussions and analyses of these primary issues and to critically examine and define epistemic characteristics, purposes, and methodologies of ABR from an interdisciplinary and global perspective (Gerber et al., 2020).  

Future Directions and Goals

Although we are a new group, thus far, our efforts, have formed our agenda, a philosophical position, and methodological strategies for addressing the: 1) status of ABR in the global research community: 2) global social and health science issues; 3) research objectives and a relevant global ABR agenda; 4) an action plan and strategy for education and dissemination of information about ABR; 5) the publication  and distribution of an arts-based research good practices document; and, 6) the development of a global ABR consortium to continue this work. Our aim is to raise the visibility of arts-based research, highlight its contribution to social consciousness central to the quality of human life, empathy, social justice and discourse.  Our goals and action plan at this point in our development include:

  • Continue to build ABR Global consortium of researchers

  • Development of a “Good ABR Practice Document”

  • Develop working groups to address projects and objectives

  • Identify current ABR research projects 

  • Identify stakeholders and funding sources

  • Develop plan for educating stakeholders and consumers

  • Develop education and training venues for ABR researchers

  • Identify global topics and ABR research teams

  • Develop an ABR blog


We invite others interested in ABR to join us.  



Barone, T. & Eisner, E. (2012). Arts based research. SagePublications, Inc.

Gerber, N., Biffi, E., Biondo, J., Gemignani, M., Hannes, K.,  & Siegesmund, R. (2020). Arts-Based Research in the Social and Health Sciences: Pushing for Change with an Interdisciplinary Global Arts-Based Research Initiative. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 21(2),

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